The South China Morning Post recently implemented changes to our Insight page as part of the plans to increase the pool of contributors to reflect society’s diversity of opinion. We notified our Op-Ed contributors and columnists of the changes, including a change in the way they submit contributions.
They were invited to share with us their thoughts on columns in a bid to avoid a potential overlap with other editorial plans, and to introduce healthy competition for column space. These measures are consistent with practices of leading publications of repute, and are designed to heighten the quality of the SCMP’s Insight page. This is consistent with the SCMP’s constant drive to identify and implement ways to strengthen our content.
Regretfully, this operational change has been misinterpreted and erroneously reported. Comments and clarifications from the SCMP sometimes were not sought before these reports were published.
In particular, the Hong Kong Journalists Association’s (HKJA) recent annual report, released on July 12, this year, includes a section titled Post’s Column Policy Change Causes a Stir. It states that there was “demand for pre-approval of topics” and the changes “resulted in the disappearance of some widely read regular columns”. The SCMP strongly objects to these baseless allegations.
We would like to reiterate that there is no such demand and as we continue to welcome contributions from columnists and other contributors as before, it is evident in our current Insight page that the SCMP now features an even larger pool of contributors. We have highlighted these views to the HKJA in a letter sent to the association last week.
We strongly believe in and uphold editorial objectivity and fairness, and share the HKJA’s Code of Ethics, an integral part of which is to eliminate distortion, conjecture and misrepresentation. We urge all to observe stringent applications of these principles as they are integral to the integrity and the well-being of our media industry.